Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Top 10 Challenges to Homeschooling (so far)

(Prologue: I didn't have pics.  So I drew.  This was mostly a mistake. :)

10.  Not everyone does it.  No, for real, have you noticed?  Being a minority can be tough.  So you have to not only explain that you are doing it, but often what it is, and how it works.  And then...

9.  Not everyone likes it.  Or approves of it.  As in, not everyone agrees that you should be selfishly sheltering your child(ren), keeping them away from their peers and stunting their social growth. And many like to tell you that.

8.  Somedays, neither you nor your child will like it, either.  Somedays, you wish there was a "Mrs. So and So" who could do the cajoling and the encouraging.  Because you and your child have know each other for AGES, and, well...

7.  You know each other's weaknesses.  This is a plus and a minus.  A plus, because you can help your child through challenges a teacher of a class of 26 would probably not even notice.  A minus, because--on their weak days--your child knows you get soooo easily distracted and so "forgets" to do the work you thought they were doing the past hour...

6.  You can feel isolated, or overwhelmed, and often both.  Days spent at home can tempt you to think, "Here I am, alone on this planet, solely responsible for my child's future well-being; I better do more research!!"

and days you go out can be all like, "IN THE CAR KIDS, NOW or we'll be late for activity number FIVE!"  You do such activities with others of your kind because you want your kids to be socialized (duh) but you find

5.  There are many, many significant differences among those who homeschool.  Like some are doing it so their kids only eat organic, raw, vegan food, or so their kid never, ever hears about God. Some homeschool in the hopes that their child will never be bullied, or unhappy, or get sick. Others chose this life because their child has special needs, or because their child is especially... special. Sometimes it feels that no two have the same reasons.

What the average homeschool mom looks like
You will find yourself both wayyyy too religious, and not nearly religious enough for the crowd you're in.  I found myself arguing extensively on a homeschooling forum that people could do yoga stretches without becoming inadvertently Hindu (yes, I actually had this discussion, and it was heated!)  The result of the discussion?  You really (REALLY) can't please everybody.  Really.

4. The lack of backup.  You have no substitute teacher.  You have no principal down the hall. You have no school nurse in an office.  You are still mom, queen of all things domestic, and now... you're doing even more full-time mommying than before.

3.  Babies.  No, I love babies.  But babies don't homeschool well.  They just don't.  They add a certain element of unpredictability to the mix that a classroom would never allow.  Just writing this, I put ketchup over a plate of food I shan't describe, which promptly spilled, and now am typing besides wads of red-stained paper towels where they "cleaned up."  That's a small example of what babies can accomplish in the space of 43 seconds.

2.  The fear of getting behind.  It doesn't have to make sense.  It doesn't matter how many times you tell yourself that one-on-one instruction is going to make up for untold hours of mass class work. You still worry that your kid may not be on par with something their schooled peers are doing, like... gym or something.  Like a fellow homeschooler related, "Homeschooling is a daily trust walk through your insecurities."

1.  That it's so awesome, to be your child's teacher, to relearn so many things along with them, and to do that outside because it's a nice day.  Somedays, you could actually mourn any time your child spent in school, or even that there are schools at all, because sometimes, homeschooling feels just perfect. And then you take a deep breath, smile at the day's blessings, and head off to co-op, realizing last minute what your forgot: it was your turn to bring snacks.

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